An engagement party can be a lovely way of showing support for a couple who are tying the knot. If you are planning a party, there are a few important etiquette tips you should keep in mind when it comes to planning all the details from the invitations to the gifts.
DO KNOW WHEN TO HOLD THE PARTY
Traditionally, the engagement party is held six months before the wedding; however, if the couple have a very long engagement, the party can be held one to three months after they become engaged or one year before the wedding.
DO CONFIRM WHO THE HOST SHOULD BE
According to tradition, the hosting of the engagement party was the responsibility of the bride’s parents; however, these days anyone can host an engagement party, including other relatives or friends of the couple. Of course, be sure to ask the bride’s parents beforehand if they had any plans as they still should have “first dibs” on the hosting role.
DO CHOOSE THE APPROPRIATE GUEST LIST
Engagement parties are usually smaller, more intimate affairs than the wedding, so deciding who to invite to the engagement party is important, as you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by leaving them out. Typically, all the people you invite to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding; however, this is another example of how tradition has changed. Now that couples are often having small weddings or having ceremonies in an exotic locale, the party can include people who may not be invited to the eventual wedding.
DO MAKE IT CLEAR WHETHER GUESTS SHOULD BRING GIFTS
When you send out your engagement party invitations, it is a good idea to indicate whether or not the guests should bring gifts for the couple. If it is not clear, your guests may be confused and might wonder what to do. You can either state “no gifts, please” on the invitation or you can list where the couple is registered. If you state “no gifts” but some people come with presents anyway, you can put them aside for the couple to unwrap later so the others who came empty-handed will not feel uncomfortable.
DO PREPARE A TOAST
If you are hosting an engagement party for your friends who are getting married, it is your duty to make a toast. It doesn’t have to be a long-winded speech, but you should take the time to thank everyone for coming to the party and say something heartfelt and kind about the couple. You may also want to ask a few people who are close to the couple if they would like to make a speech as well, so you can allocate time for them to make their toasts.
DON’T UPSTAGE THE WEDDING
Although you want to plan the most amazing and unforgettable night, you will never want to upstage the couple’s main event. If you throw a more lavish party than they have planned for their wedding with expensive food and engagement party decorations, it can leave them feeling inadequate, and they might resent you for showing off. Try to create a different mood for your engagement party that will complement the wedding while still being unique. A common theme for an engagement party is a cocktail event, as this is a nice way to allow the happy couple to mingle with their family and friends throughout the evening.
These are just a few important etiquette tips to keep in mind if you ever have the responsibility of hosting an engagement party for your friends or relatives. If you adhere to these suggestions, it will be a fun and successful event for everyone involved.
Image provided by Dhaneesha Senaratne from Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author: Katy Bleaker is a party planner with seven years of experience throwing stylish, fun events for numerous clients. She especially loves engagement parties because they bring two families together to celebrate the union of a happy couple.